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Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita is just an hour’s drive, yet it feels worlds apart.
More Burning Man than Spring Break, this once-sleepy surfing town is now a buzzword destination attracting all kinds of visitors.
I first visited Sayulita in early 2017 and most recently, a few months ago. My how times have changed!
Here’s an updated guide for visiting Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta to help you make the most of a trip there.
Is Sayulita worth visiting?
Sayulita is around 40 km (25 miles) from Puerto Vallarta’s international airport. At its core, it’s a small fishing town with a population of under 5,000.
That was, of course, until the surfers showed up. Then the day trippers. Then the yogis. And now the digital nomads…
It’s safe to say the secret is out about Sayulita, so don’t come here expecting some quiet, tranquil beach town.
As a top-rated day trip destinations, it gets quite busy here – especially on weekends and holidays.
As with many small towns that attract a lot of attention, there have been some growing pains for Sayulita.
It’s tough to accommodate everyone who wants to visit this Pueblo Magico (Magical Village), as there really isn’t much room for it to grow.
While it’s true that the narrow, cobblestone streets of Sayulita are often clogged with golf carts and it can be a bit chaotic, it’s still a fun place to visit.
Surfing, hiking, yoga, and beach bumming occupy the days here, while evenings are for live music, bar hopping, and of course delicious tacos, ceviche, and more.
For all you digital nomads in Mexico, there are a few coworking spaces if you need to work a bit.
How to get from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita
You’ve got a few options for getting up to Sayulita. The most economical is catching the public bus.
Bus from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita
If you’re heading there straight from the Puerto Vallarta international airport to Sayulita, you just need to walk across the bridge outside the airport, and you’ll be able to hop on a bus within minutes.
While the bus stops several times and various vendors and performers may hop on and off, that’s all part of the adventure. Plus, it gets you up there for just a few bucks (around 50 pesos).
If you’re already staying in the city, you can also catch a bus from downtown Puerto Vallarta. I’ve caught it just outside the HSBC bank in Versalles.
The buses list where they are going on the front of the window, so just look for Sayulita. If you aren’t sure, ask the driver when you get on.
Since the bus is a bit slower than driving, it takes about an hour and a half.
Ride-sharing apps or taxi
Alternatively, you can always hail a cab or use ride-share apps. I recommend having both Uber and InDriver on your phone.
If you’re not familiar with the latter, it’s an app where you make an offer that drivers can accept or counter. You need cash for this but it’s usually cheaper and drivers get to keep more of their earnings, so it’s a win-win.
You can also hire a local taxi driver to take you, but in my experience, they charge almost double what the ride-sharing apps do.
Renting a car
Renting a car is also an option, but to be honest I don’t think it makes much sense. Sayulita is a small town that’s already crowded with insufficient parking.
Plus, who wants to sit in traffic and drive on cobblestones when there is a beach to sit on and tequila to drink?
You can get to Sayulita by local bus, taxi, InDriver, Uber, or driving along Highway 200. This post goes into detail about each option.
The two towns are only 45 kilometers apart, making them easily accessible for day trips. Without traffic, the drive can be done in an hour, however, road congestion is common and it’s likely to take you longer.
Depending on demand, an Uber will cost you around 500 pesos (25 USD).
Yes, Sayulita has no airport, so you will need to fly into the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) to get there. There are direct buses from PVR to Sayulita, or you can hire a taxi/Uber.
Sayulita can be visited on a day trip. However, I recommend staying overnight to make the most of your experience. If you’re looking for a more active vacation with plenty of time to surf and explore the surrounding areas, then a stay of up to 5 days would be ideal.
Things to do in Sayulita
Surfing basically put Sayulita on the map, and that’s still the most popular activity here.
With plenty of surf schools and boards for rent along with smaller waves, this is a good place for beginners to surf near Puerto Vallarta. More advanced surfers may be a bit underwhelmed.
Relax on the beach
If that’s not your thing, there’s still a long stretch of beach to enjoy here. There are plenty of sun loungers that you can rent as well as beachfront restaurants where you can use theirs as long as you’re a paying customer.
Since the main beach can get crowded with surfers, it’s nice to walk north to find a more quiet stretch of la playa. You can even walk all the way to San Pancho. Just bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
We usually don’t make it past Club de Playa Camaron. This place drew us in the first time we visited and we go back every time to chill out and drink some cervesas.
There isn’t much going on here, so BYO whatever you may want to eat or drink and plop down in the sand.
Those who feel like being more active have a few other options here. Climbing Monkey Mountain seems to be a popular hiking trail, but we haven’t gotten around to it yet. One of these days…
Other than that, just hang out and enjoy the vibe. The plaza always seems to have something going on, especially at night.
Walk around town to peruse the market and bohemian shops, stopping to check out the street art. Should you ever get thirsty or hungry, you’ve got plenty of options here. I’m dreaming of the fish tacos at Tacos Gaby and a cold beer at Yambak as I write this.
When night falls, there are a handful of fun bars and music venues to hang out in. We’ve had a great time at Atico with their swing seats and gypsy jazz band.
Where to stay in Sayulita Mexico
For a small town, Sayulita has a wide variety of accommodations available. There are dorm rooms at backpacker hostels, romantic villas, luxury vacation rentals, and more. We even stayed in a tree house last time…
On the budget end, La Redonda is a solid choice. Staying in one of their dorms allows you to meet other travelers and have more money for tacos and beer. And isn’t that what it’s really all about?
If you prefer a private room and a bit more mellow atmosphere, El Pueblito de Sayulita is worth a look. They have private rooms with balconies as well as a really nice pool.
And for those looking to splash out, Hotel Ysuri looks like a fabulous choice. Their infinity pool overlooking the main beach is the perfect spot to enjoy some good ole’ fashioned R&R.
Looking for more day trips from Puerto Vallarta? Check out these posts!
- Plan a Day Trip To Tequila From Puerto Vallarta
- How to Visit San Sebastian Del Oeste Mexico
- How to Visit Yelapa From Puerto Vallarta
While it’s definitely not a sleepy little fishing town anymore, there’s still plenty that’s magico about this pueblo once you dodge the golf carts and influencers.